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COVID-19 continues to surprise: Vaccines not a silver bullet

Richard Maslen of the CAPA – Centre for Aviation, conducted a live presentation focusing on the aviation sector in the Middle East and Africa.

  1. Just like the coronavirus pandemic arrived with little warning, its changing DNA with increasing mutations, demonstrates that it can continue to surprise us.
  2. With borders effectively closed and non-essential travel restricted, it means that international flying remains severely limited.
  3. CAPA had warned that the arrival of vaccines would not be a silver bullet.

Richard Maslen’s talk takes a look at some recent developments across the regions and looks in more detail at a specific market in each. This month, the focus is on Kuwait and Nigeria and why the COVID-19 vaccine is not a silver bullet. Richard begins:

After entering the year with perhaps the most optimistic outlook we had seen for many months, the reality of the past two months has reminded us that nothing can be taken for granted. Just like the coronavirus pandemic arrived with little warning, its changing DNA with increasing mutations, highlights that while we believe we may be finally getting an understanding of the deadly virus, it can continue to surprise us. In many parts of the world new waves of the pandemic has meant that having enjoyed some short-term freedom, stricter rules have again been adopted restricting mobility.

With borders effectively closed and non-essential travel restricted it means that international flying remains severely limited. But, are we really surprised?

Here at CAPA we had warned that the arrival of vaccines would not be a silver bullet. It certainly represents a significant step to the new post-COVID world, but that still remains some distance away. A positive story in a sea of bad news was like a desert island oasis and seduced us into believing life would get better. It will, but the reality is that will remain longer-term and right now things are perhaps tougher than ever for the world’s airlines and the many business sectors they play an important role supporting. Most airlines have now relaunched operations to some degree, but these remain at levels significantly below those seen before the public health crisis. Traffic restrictions in place to avoid continued spread of COVID-19 and further waves of infection continue to blunt international recovery, although domestic travel has shown positive signs of recovery.

The Middle East is particularly impacted by the ongoing international travel restrictions with its largest airlines previously operating networks that spread across the globe and reliant on international passengers.